Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Battle for New Hampshire

New Hampshire, much like Iowa, receives a disproportionate amount of attention relative to its electoral importance due its primacy in the election calendar. Once the primaries finish, general election campaigns usually pay far greater attention to states possessing substantially larger electoral vote hauls.  Not this year:

There will be far more to the Granite State political story than even Mitt Romney, winner of the Republican primary in January, could have contemplated.

A red state turned purple

A generation ago, no one would have thought that New Hampshire, with its sturdy Republican tradition, could possibly be a presidential battleground. Between Franklin Roosevelt’s last campaign in 1944 and Bill Clinton’s first in 1992, New Hampshire voted Republican every time but in the 1964 Lyndon Johnson landslide. Even then Carroll county went for Barry Goldwater, the only one in New England to do so. But since then this state, once resolutely red. Clinton won the state in 1992 by a hair, and then Gov. George W. Bush seized it by just as slim a margin — but would have lost both the state, and the 2000 election, had not Ralph Nader taken about 22,000 votes, almost all of them from Vice President Al Gore.

Now it is open to changing colors, from red to blue and then back again twice, and the irony is that this year’s election is between two men who were defeated in primary fights here in 2008 and left for dead, only to recover, Obama later that year and Romney in four years’ time. The velocity of the change in staid old New Hampshire has been stunning, which is why Romney’s forces believe they will prevail here — a notion that has prompted Obama to intensify his organizational efforts.

Republican routs at the state level

Two years ago, Democrats controlled the state House (224-176) and the state Senate (14-10), only to become the victims of a stunning GOP surge that gave the Republicans overpowering margins in both, 293-104 in the House and 19-5 in the Senate. Meanwhile, the Republicans took back two congressional seats, elected a senator to an open seat and overturned a 3-2 disadvantage on the Executive Council, an institution with colonial antecedents and functions so peculiar and inscrutable that no other state has copied it, and now have a 5-0 margin there.

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Obama’s Economic Recovery is Always Right Around the Corner

Reason.com itemizes an incredible list of “Once-a-month quotes from the Obama administration and the media about how the economy will be booming any minute now.” Be sure to read all 42 of them which include each month’s rate of U-3 unemployment and labor force non-participation:

  • January 10, 2009: Council of Economic Advisers Chair-designate Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein, economic advisor to Vice President-Elect Joe Biden: “As Figure 1 shows, even with the large prototypical (stimulus) package, the unemployment rate in 2010Q4 is predicted to be approximately 7.0%, which is well below the approximately 8.8% that would result in the absence of a plan.” (Unemployment 7.8 percent, labor force non-participation 34.3 percent)
  • February 25, 2009: Vice President Joe Biden: “We have an opportunity to get the nation back to work and back on its feet….And we have to do it right.” (8.3 percent, 34.3 percent)
  • March 15, 2009: Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke: “We’ll see the recession coming to an end probably this year.” (8.7 percent, 34.4 percent)
  • April 14, 2009: President Barack Obama: “[W]e are beginning to see glimmers of hope.” (8.9 percent, 34.4 percent)
  • May 18, 2009: CNNMoney: “Job recovery may be on the way.” (9.4 percent, 34.3 percent)
  • June 9, 2009: NewGeography.com: “There are plenty of reasons that Krugman and others are seeing encouraging signs in the economy.” (9.5 percent, 34.3 percent)
  • July 14, 2009: Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner: “The force of the global recession is now receding.” (9.5 percent, 34.5 percent)
  • August 4, 2009: Boston Globe: “Vice President Joe Biden, put in charge of keeping waste and fraud out of the $787 billion economic stimulus package, declared today ‘without reservation‘ that the recovery plan is working.” (9.6 percent, 34.6 percent)
  • September 24, 2009: CNN: “Biden on the Recovery Act: ‘If It Fails, I’m Dead‘” (9.8 percent, 34.9 percent)
  • October 31, 2009: President Barack Obama: “I am pleased to offer some better news that—while not cause for celebration—is certainly reason to believe that we are moving in the right direction.” (10 percent, 34.9 percent)
  • November 13, 2009: Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner: “We are seeing growth resume in the United States.” (9.9 percent, 35 percent)
  • December 13, 2009: Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council: “Today, everybody agrees that the recession is over, and the question is what the pace of the expansion is going to be.” (9.9 percent, 35.4 percent)
  • January 27, 2010: President Barack Obama: “And after two years of recession, the economy is growing again.” (9.7 percent, 35.2 percent)
  • February 1, 2010: Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag: “We just came through a year in which a second Great Depression was averted.” (9.8 percent, 35.1 percent)
  • March 15, 2010: John Cassidy, The New Yorker: “Economists are still debating what it was that ended the financial crisis and turned the economy around. It is inarguable, though, that Geithner’s stabilization plan has proved more effective than many observers expected.” (9.8 percent, 35.1 percent)
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Bristow, Virginia Romney Victory Office Opens

A special guest joined the Romney campaign for the grand opening of its Bristow, Virginia Victory Office:

Artur Davis at Romney Victory Bristow, VA opening

That’s Artur Davis, former 4-term Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Alabama.  He left the party in 2011 and it looks like he’s found a new home.  Welcome aboard!

Who Hates the Obamacare Ruling? Florida … and Kansas … and even California

We already talked about how 66% of Ohio voters (in a pro-union turnout) voted against Obamacare. Now  Suvery USA polled voters in a Republican state, a Battleground state, and a Democrat state asking whether they approved of the Obamacare ruling. Nowhere was a majority in favor of the ruling:

Kansas:

  • Kansas comes down this way: 38% support the ruling, 52% oppose, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KWCH-TV in Wichita.
  • 55% in Kansas say they expect the cost of health care to go up as a result of the decision.
  • 48% in Kansas say they expect the quality of their health care coverage to get worse as a result of the decision.

Florida:

  • Florida comes down this way: 39% support the ruling, 50% oppose, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for WFLA-TV in Tampa.
  • 51% in Florida say they expect the cost of health care to go up as a result of the decision.
  • 47% in Florida say they expect the quality of their health care coverage to get worse as a result of the decision.

California:

  • California splits: 44% support the ruling, 45% oppose, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KABC-TV Los Angeles, KPIX-TV San Francisco, KFSN-TV Fresno, and KGTV-TV San Diego.
  • 48% in California say they expect the cost of health care to go up as a result of the decision.
  • 38% in California say they expect the quality of their health care coverage to get worse as a result of the decision; 34% say it will stay about the same.

New Hampshire Field Office Opens

CNN takes a look at Mitt Romney’s sons stumping for their father at the opening of a New Hampshire field office:

For Mitt Romney, even his vacation digs may end up being all about location, location, location. Just across town from the lakeside vacation home where the presumptive GOP nominee settled into the holiday week with family Saturday, two Romney sons stumped for their dad in this state where a poll showed him running neck-and-neck with the president…A new NBC/Marist poll released Thursday showed the two men tied here, each at 45%.

Field Office opens

On a sunny Saturday morning, Josh and Craig Romney welcomed about 40 locals and state politicos for the opening of the Wolfeboro, New Hampshire campaign office. The office – a quaint green-roofed building sitting along Back Bay – is the latest in an expansion of real estate for the campaign here. With one employee and the rest volunteers, it is the campaign’s third state office. Several more outposts are slated to open this week. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s campaign boasts 10 offices in a state he won by nine points in 2008.

Taxpayers money

At the opening, Josh Romney pushed back against the Obama campaign’s criticism of his dad’s record at private equity company Bain Capital. “He gets criticized right now by President Obama a lot for making a mistake in the private sector,” the Romney son told a group of supporters about his father. “He was by no means perfect. He didn’t have a perfect record in the private sector.” Josh continued: “But if you think about the mistakes that my dad made, they were made on his own money, his own time. And if you look, if you think about President Obama and the mistakes he’s made, he’s making them with our money.”

President Obama Stymies Drilling in Virginia

The Obama Administration claims credit for increased domestic drilling during his presidency despite the innumerable this lie gets debunked. The Wall Street Journal picks up the latest effort by Obama to stifle domestic drilling (even though they repeat the canard implying Obama has increased drilling):

The Obama administration gave critics in a key swing state something else to shout about this week when it denied Virginia‘s request to drill offshore. The Interior Department this week announced a five-year plan for offshore drilling—and didn’t include Virginia. By most accounts, the state will be pivotal in determining the next president. Republicans have claimed that President Obama has stymied domestic oil and gas exploration. Virginia Democrats, including Tim Kaine—a former governor, Democratic National Committee chairman and current Senate candidate—joined Republicans in protesting Virginia’s exclusion from the latest round of lease sales. Likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said that Mr. Obama’s policies are making it harder to drill for oil and gas, despite evidence the U.S. is producing more domestic energy than ever. The Romney campaign recently unveiled an ad in Virginia promising to reverse the ban on offshore drilling.

Hello Florida! Romney Takes to the Airwaves

An interesting subplot to this early election season was whether President Obama was even going to complete in Florida with a lot of anecdotal evidence that the Sunshine State may be a bridge too far for him in 2012. Strangely no Florida market was in the top 10 in ad spending in the weekly surveys despite its rich electoral college haul.  That changed this past week when the Obama campaign opened up a new front with major spends in Fort Myers and Tampa-St. Petersburg.  From my vantage point, these were ad dollars previously spent in North Carolina that are being shifted to Florida — a state with better prospects for the President. Well, it looks like Mitt Romney is meeting the President head-on with his own new spend in the state:

Mitt Romney’s campaign bought its first ad spots in Florida since he became the presumptive Republican nominee for president, according to a GOP ad buying source. The campaign is spending $631,685 on ads that began airing Friday in four of the ten Florida media markets – Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Ft. Myers. They represent essential battleground territories as Romney will need to win Florida’s 29 electoral votes this November. Featured in the spot that airs until July 3rd is the president’s former opponent – Hillary Clinton. Using footage from a 2008 press conference, the Romney campaign accuses the president’s team this year of dishonest tactics a charge similar to one from Clinton four years ago.

The “Hillary ad” will face steep competition on Florida air waves. The Obama campaign is spending $1,347,066 from June 21st – July 2nd in the same media markets as the Romney ad, as well as in Miami, West Palm Beach, and Gainesville, according to the GOP ad buying source. This brings the president’s reelection ad buys in Florida to $12,208,554 since April.

Who Hates Obamacare? Ohio Does

Plenty of press attention was paid to the 2011 repeal of Ohio’s law restricting the collective bargaining rights of unions.  Rarely mentioned on that same ballot was a referendum against Obamacare. In a very pro-union turnout, Obamacare was rejected by 66% of Ohio voters:

Partisans and pundits heralded the 2011 Ohio election as a bellwether indicator of the 2012 election to come. Ohio voters may have thrown the pundits a bit of a surprise. On election night, Ohio voters threw out Issue 2, a collective bargaining reform bill, but at the same time issued a resounding rebuke to Obamacare.

Issue 3 was a constitutional amendment placed on the ballot by citizen petition. It was a referendum on Obamacare seeking to exempt Ohioans from mandatory nationalized health care. Granted, this is a symbolic approach given that federal law trumps state laws, and Ohio is not exactly a bastion of states’ rights advocacy. The fact that the measure passed is remarkable in such a pro-union-turnout model, especially since the pro-Issue 3 campaign had no money to spend. That Issue 3 passed with a higher majority (66 percent for) than the defeat of Issue 2 (61 percent) is even more substantive. In other words, there was a 5 percent greater animosity toward Obamacare in the Ohio electorate than the animus toward Gov. John Kasich’s collective bargaining reforms. In this off-election year, where union turnout dominated the day, Issue 3 passed in all 88 Ohio counties.

Said another way, 34 percent of Ohio voters favored Obamacare while 39 percent of Ohioans favored the collective bargaining reforms. Thus, the pro-union, anti-Kasich turnout on Nov. 8 is even more distrusting of the current nationalized health care plan than collective bargaining reforms. Gov. Kasich and his allies got their clocks cleaned on Issue 2 on Nov. 8. If this election is an indicator of things to come, however, the 2012 election may actually become a referendum on Obamacare. Not even the pro-union crowd in Ohio seems to like that idea.

Even today, Obamacare threatens to choke off a budding recovery in Ohio:

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor serves as state insurance director, has frequently criticized the overhaul, while saying the state needed more information for the federal government on the exchange plans. Taylor said Ohio’s leadership doesn’t see an advantage to a state-run exchange program, nor where needed funding for exchange costs and for additional coverages — such as $369 million more in state matching funds for Medicaid in 2014 — will come from. “We are concerned that this will cripple the recovery in Ohio,” Taylor told reporters. She also said higher state costs could lead to cuts in state Medicaid services. She said the state is still studying other implications of the ruling.

Battleground State Reaction to Supreme Court Ruling: Iowa

Plenty of lengthy replies from Iowa‘s elected officials. Below are some excerpts:

  • Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad: Today, the Supreme Court handed down a disastrous decision to uphold President Obama’s destructive health care law, which means a future of higher costs, higher taxes, and increasing debt for Iowans.”
  • Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds: America needs real health care reform and we need Governor Romney in Washington. Gov. Romney will enact real reforms to ensure that the future of Iowa and America as a whole can replace Obamacare with solutions that put Iowans in control of their own health care and preserve the economic future of Iowa’s next generation.
  • Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller: The decision today means that: Tens of millions of Americans without health care can secure it; Hundreds of millions of Americans who have or get in the future a pre-existing condition will not lose their health care; Millions of young people under 26 now covered by their parents’ policies will not lose coverage.
  • Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen: “The federal health care law is plain and simple, the government takeover of health care and a massive tax increase on all Iowans. The Supreme Court’s decision today makes it harder for Iowa’s small businesses to hire workers, operate their businesses and grow our state.
  • House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer: “Iowans are perfectly capable of making health care decisions on their own; they don’t need Washington, D.C. telling them what to do. This law creates trillions in new government spending that we cannot afford and it ensures Iowans will have limited choices and freedoms.
  • State Sen. Jack Hatch: “The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today is a major victory for all Iowans, both those with health insurance and those without. Now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the health care of every Iowan will improve and become more secure while costs for consumers and businesses are reduced.
  • State Rep. Nick Wagner, via Twitter: “Now we know what’s in the bill… Massive Tax increases!! ‪#Obamacare”
  • Americans for Prosperity Iowa Director Mark Lucas: “Iowans recognize that this law is a threat to our liberty. While the Supreme Court has ruled government health care constitutional, taxpayers understand this is bad policy. We won’t stand idly by while this law spends $1.75 trillion dollars and places bureaucrats between you and your doctor.
  • AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan: “Today’s historic U.S. Supreme Court’s decision affirming the constitutionality of Obamacare is a victory for middle class families. “Thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision, Obamacare will continue to ensure that children in Iowa cannot be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, seniors will pay less for prescription drugs and students and young adults can remain on their parents’ plans.

The Battleground State Ad that Writes Itself

The Biggest 2012 Election Story Yesterday May Not Have Been the Obamacare Ruling

I’ll keep this brief since I’d rather talk about Battleground states, but with all the political focus on the Supreme Court’s ruling and secondary coverage of the Eric Holder Contempt of Congress vote, the overriding economic concerns have largely been ignored. But if the US economy goes in the tank, which could easily happen if Europe collapses, then all the talk of Obamacare or Eric Holder will be irrelevant and nearly any challenger could beat President Obama in November..

Yesterday, some very big news came out of Europe to alleviate the stressed sovereign countries unable to meet their obligations:

Euro-area leaders agreed to relax conditions on emergency loans for Spanish banks and possible help for Italy as an outflanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave in on expanded steps to stem the debt crisis. After 13 1/2 hours of talks ending at 4:30 a.m. in Brussels today, chiefs of the 17 euro countries dropped the requirement that taxpayers get preferred creditor status on aid to Spain’s blighted banks and opened the way to recapitalizing lenders directly with bailout funds once Europe sets up a single banking supervisor. The politicians struggled for consensus on reducing market pressure, where surging borrowing costs in Spain and Italy stoked concern among investors and global policy makers that the currency union threatened to splinter and risk damaging the global economy. Euro governments can now gain access to rescue loans without relinquishing control of their economies. Even so, the EU’s two rescue funds may only amount to about 20 percent of the outstanding debt of Italy and Spain, limiting its ability to lower the nations’ borrowing costs. The rescue mechanisms, the European Financial Stability Facility and the yet-to-start ESM, may have 500 billion euros available for purchases. Italy and Spain have about 2.4 trillion euros combined of outstanding bonds, bills and loans, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The next breakthrough was establishing a European “Fed”

Eurozone leaders agreed to radically restructure Spain’s €100bn bank recapitalisation plan during all-night talks at an EU summit that ended in the early hours of Friday. The agreement will result in EU bailout funds eventually being injected directly into teetering Spanish financial institutions, meaning Madrid can sweep the burden of the bailouts off its sovereign books. The change, agreed as part of a deal struck in the early hours of Friday morning, will not happen immediately, however. Instead the leaders agreed it would come only after the eurozone set up a single banking supervisor to be run by the European Central Bank.

Instead of the hotchpotch of 17 different bank supervisors, there will now only be one for all eurozone banks, a major step towards a so-called banking union that is arguably the most significant change to the single currency area since it was created. Both the agreement to allow direct injections into weak eurozone banks and the creation of a single supervisor are important steps towards breaking what many considered the most insidious development in the eurozone crisis – weak banks dragging down otherwise healthy governments, and highly indebted governments undermining otherwise solvent banks. In exchange for the concessions, a German-led group of northern creditor countries will gain more control over all of the eurozone banks through the new single supervisor. In addition to the ability to break the occasionally cosy relationship between national supervisors and their banks, eurozone authorities will now be able to force struggling institutions to recapitalise, something the US was able to do quickly and forcefully in 2008, stopping the Lehman Brothers crisis before it spread any further.

The question remains, as with every EU “solution”, whether the politicians have the will to implement the proposed structural changes to meet their obligations. They haven’t thus far which is why every market and economic rally fades with increasing speed. But for the first time, we are seeing meaningful changes that could prevent Europe from collapsing on itself.

Obamacare Ruling Impact on 2012 Battleground States

First and foremost, the ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is a major victory for President Obama.  No political spin can or should take away from that fact.  This was a thoroughly litigated case with some of the best legal minds weighing in on all angles in an attempt to invalidate this law.  They failed and Obama deserves his victory lap.

He should, however, savor that victory lap because the President still has one more major hurdle to clear for validation of his law — the upcoming November elections. And today’s ruling may meaningfully impact his chances in unwelcome ways.

There is a genuine risk for President Obama that today’s victory could be an empty one. Fierce resistance to the original passage of Obamacare was one of the major drivers in the 2010 mid-term elections. In those elections Democrats at all levels were annihilated by the Republicans and the Tea Party. Antipathy towards Obamacare (and a weak economy) went far beyond headline victories like the Republican’s sixty-three seat gain in the House of Representatives and net seven-seat gain in the Senate.

Even greater gains were made at the state level across the country and most specifically among today’s battleground states.

In 2010, Republicans took eleven governorships from the Democrats, including 6 battleground states (Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Kansas, Oklahoma, Maine, Tennessee, and Wyoming) and one governorship in a battleground state previously held by an independent (in Florida).

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John Roberts’ Trojan Horse

To put it briefly, the Obama Administration won the battle today, but Chief Justice John Roberts’ Majority opinion (i.e. the law of the land) was an incredible Trojan Horse for the conservative legal movement.

Ezra Klein writes of the “political genius of John Roberts” decision:

The 5-4 language suggests that Roberts agreed with the liberals. But for the most part, he didn’t. If you read the opinions, he sided with the conservative bloc on every major legal question before the court. He voted with the conservatives to say the Commerce Clause did not justify the individual mandate. He voted with the conservatives to say the Necessary and Proper Clause did not justify the mandate. He voted with the conservatives to limit the federal government’s power to force states to carry out the planned expansion of Medicaid. ”He was on-board with the basic challenge,” said Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University and a former clerk to Justice Kennedy. “He was on the conservative side of the controversial issues.”

Chief architect of the opposition to Obamacare, Randy Barnett, reacts:

“We won … All the arguments that the law professors said were frivolous were affirmed by a majority of the court today. A majority of the court endorsed our constitutional argument about the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. Yet we end up with the opposite outcome. It’s just weird.”

Tom Socca in Slate writes that Roberts opinion and Kennedy’s dissent delivered the victory that mattered to conservatives:

By ruling that the individual mandate was permissible as a tax, he joined the Democratic appointees to uphold the law—while joining the Republican wing to gut the Commerce Clause (and push back against the necessary-and-proper clause as well). . . . Roberts’ genius was in pushing this health care decision through without attaching it to the coattails of an ugly, narrow partisan victory. Obama wins on policy, this time. And Roberts rewrites Congress’ power to regulate, opening the door for countless future challenges. In the long term, supporters of curtailing the federal government should be glad to have made that trade.

Erik Ericson identifies the macro-view Roberts seems to have taken:

It seems very, very clear to me in reviewing John Roberts’ decision that he is playing a much longer game than us and can afford to with a life tenure…Roberts is playing a different game…We’re on poker. He’s on chess.

Today is Obama’s day so give him his due.  But for each step back in the conservative movement, it is very likely John Roberts moved the needle more than a few notches forward, right underneath the nose of the liberal jurists.

Romney’s Course of Attack Now Clear

Below is an excerpt of a column I submitted for publication:

After today’s ruling Mitt Romney has a clear line of differentiation with President Obama that is consistent with the GOP message in 2010:

These were the major factors that led to historic gains for Republicans in 2010.  These arguments remain true today and should all be articulated against Obama for the remainder of this election.  The states mentioned above have already declared their support for such arguments and many others can be expected to join in if Mitt Romney can effectively state his case to the American people.

Romney and Obama Tied in New Hampshire, Obama +4 in Michigan — NBC/Marist

NBC/Marist released a few polls this morning and New Hampshire is a dead heat while President Obama holds a four point lead in Michigan 47 – 43. Included in the survey was North Carolina which Obama surprisingly led 46 – 44 (although based on party ID it is almost as if this was a poll of North Carolina DNC members). Party ID for all three after the jump.

NBC-Marist surveys conducted June 24-25

New Hampshire Michigan North Carolina
Barack Obama 45% 47% 46%
Mitt Romney 45% 43% 44%
Undecided 8% 10% 9%

Plenty of interesting take-aways underneath the headlines:

  • First, the President again fails to crack 50% in any Battleground state polls. This is really bad for an incumbent.
  • Two of the states in this survey — New Hampshire and Michigan — were state Obama won by double digits in 2008 and now they are toss-ups
  • President Obama’s approval also fails to crack 50%, and “approval” is a fairly good predictor of popular vote count on election day.
  • A majority of voters in each state say the country is headed in the wrong direction

Party  ID was a bit of a mess, especially in North Carolina.

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Twitter Fun on Obamacare Eve

The Battleground State news crawl has come to a halt ahead of tomorrow’s big day. Since every pundit has weighed in on what and how many Justices will vote for or against Obamacare, Twitter has taken a more irreverent turn with #otherSCOTUSpredictions.

As such we will share some of the funnier #otherSCOTUSpredictions on Twitter:

Quick Hits — The Obamacare Ruling

Although this blog is supposed to be about only the Battleground States, with something as momentous as tomorrow’s Supreme Court ruling it is hard to ignore all the chatter and forge ahead with our mandate.  That said, here are a bunch of important reads ahead of tomorrow’s throw-down:

SCOTUSblog explains how to understand the opinions quickly tomorrow

American Enterprise Institute has a flow chart about what comes next following the ruling

Rachel Weiner’s 6 Things You Should Read Before the Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare

You can vote on tomorrow’s outcome at Teagan Goddard’s Wonk Wire

Former Clarence Thomas Supreme Court clerk predicts tomorrow’s outcome

Sean Trende: Why the entirety of Obamacare will be struck down

There is already a line forming in front of the Supreme Court to see Justin Bieber, I mean the Obamacare ruling [image]

Whoops: Obama’s Immigration Move Backfiring?

Below we talk about how Obama’s immigration executive order was designed to improve the enthusiasm gap among Hispanics — they already support him overwhelmingly.  While those poll numbers demonstrate that Obama’s move has this far failed to energize Hispanics, an even more concerning development was revealed in today’s Quinnipiac Swing State polls:

President Obama’s decision to exempt young illegal immigrants from deportation may not be the electoral boon it’s cracked up to be. And in fact, it appears to be turning off more voters than it mobilizes in three key states, according to new polling from Quinnipiac University.

Who are you more likely to support following Obama’s Immigration Executive Order?

Florida Ohio Pennsylvania
Barack Obama 17% 11% 12%
Mitt Romney 22% 27% 27%

While most voters still like the policy and Obama continues to lead Mitt Romney in all three states, the opposition to the move appears to be significantly more motivated by it — particularly in the two Midwestern states. In both Ohio and Pennsylvania, more than twice as many respondents say the decision makes them less likely to support the president (27 percent in both) as say it makes them more likely to back him (12 percent in Pennsylvania, 11 percent in Ohio). In Florida, the split is less pronounced, with 22 percent saying the move makes them less likely to support Obama and 17 percent saying it makes them more likely to support him.

Still, though, the opposition wins the day, even in a heavily Latino state (though we should note that Florida’s Latinos — many of them Cuban-Americans — tend to be more conservative than in other states). What’s most remarkable about the results is that, in all three states, a majority supports Obama’s immigration policy by a significant margin: by 25 points in Florida, 14 points in Ohio and 10 points in Pennsylvania. So how can a popular policy be a political loser? Put simply, voters who care about the issue most tend to disagree with Obama’s policy.

Whoops!

Obama’s Hispanic Vote Problem and Why He Made His Immigration Move

The demographic changes in the US and the growing Hispanic vote has been the topic du jour in the early election season. A consistent theme among punditry is the overwhelming lead Obama has among this voting bloc.

However, a strange problem for Obama is that every demographic group he outperformed with in 2008 has largely reverted to the norm this election cycle — except for Hispanics.  But if Obama still leads overwhelmingly among Hispanics, and might even be outpacing his 2008 performance, why was he concerned enough to make such a bold (and likely unconstitutional) move with his executive order on immigration and deportations? Because consistent with Gallup’s findings (linked above), Hispanics may simply not show up at the polls like they did four years ago:

Hispanics overwhelmingly approve of President Obama’s recently announced immigration policy and give him a 40-point lead over Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to results from a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo poll. Obama’s job approval among Latinos has also seen a four-point boost, within the poll’s margin of error, since the immigration announcement. But the president still faces a challenge in energizing Latinos to vote. Hispanics — the largest-growing demographic group in the country that could also hold the key to Obama’s re-election bid — are not as interested in this election, so far, as they were at the same point during the 2008 election. The poll was conducted June 20-24 after the president’s immigration pronouncement.

Their interest in this election remains far below 2008 levels, and lags well behind other key groups this cycle. To measure enthusiasm, the pollsters asked respondents to say how interested they are in this November’s contest, on a scale of one to 10. Adding up the 8s, 9s, and 10s gives a good measure of who the most likely voters will be this fall.

***Two-thirds – 66 percent – of Latinos put themselves in this high-interest category. Last month, it was 68 percent. That’s much lower than the average of 80 percent in this poll for all adults.***

It’s particularly problematic for Obama’s re-election chances, considering some of the highest-interest groups are ones likely to vote for Romney – Tea Party supporters (89 percent), McCain 2008 voters (88 percent), conservatives (84 percent), those 65 and older (83 percent), Republicans (83 percent), and whites (81 percent). Several key Obama voting groups come in above 80 percent – post-grads (87 percent), urban voters (86 percent), college-educated women (84 percent), Democrats (83 percent), liberals (83 percent), Obama 2008 voters (83 percent), African Americans (81 percent). But Hispanics and young voters, two key pieces of the puzzle, see a big drop off. Young voters are even lower than Latinos, at just 61 percent.

Consider that in July 2008, four-out-of-five Hispanics – 80 percent – were in the high-interest range. That rose to 100 percent by November, with 92 percent saying they were a 9 or 10. In this poll, just 52 percent of Latinos said they were a 9 or 10, below the 68 percent of all respondents. In July 2008, 64 percent of Hispanics said they were 9s and 10s.

Quick Hits

Romney Superfan gets a new truck thanks to the Romney campaign

Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery: Obama plans battleground states bus tour

The word “Colorado” does not appear in any of the transcripts of the five campaign events Obama has done since June 25

Fifty-one minutes with Senator Marco Rubio — why I really wish he were the Vice President nominee

Rudy Giuliani to campaign for Mitt Romney in Nevada this Friday

Romney leads by +13 in Arizona even after the extra-Constitutional move by Obama

Over 30 Democrats are expected to vote for contempt charges on Attorney General Eric Holder

Who is Advising Democrats to Jump On the “We’re Not With Obama” Bandwagon?

That would be Representative Steve Israel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee:

Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the committee charged with getting Democrats elected to the House, is discouraging candidates up for re-election from attending the Democratic National Committee in September. “If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts,” Israel, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said at a Reuters event in Washington on Tuesday, according to the news outlet. His remarks come after several Democratic members of Congress announced plans to skip the big gathering this year, set to take place Sept. 3-6 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Their decisions have raised questions over whether some Democrats are trying to distance themselves from President Barack Obama this election year.

The DCCC on Wednesday, however, stood by the chairman’s comments, saying Israel’s advice wasn’t based on the president’s poll numbers.

Suuuuurrrrreeee it is.

Either way, seats are filling fast, so get your tickets soon!

The “We’re Not With Obama” Bandwagon

  • Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, West Virginia
  • Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia
  • Rep. Nick Rahall, West Virginia
  • Rep. Mark Critz, Pennsylvania
  • Rep. Bill Owens, New York
  • Rep. Kathy Hochul, New York
  • Rep. Jim Matheson, Utah
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri
  • Sen. John Tester, Montana
  • Rep. John Barrow, Georgia

Beware Funny #s: Quinnipiac Still Thinks It Is 2008

Quinnipiac University released its swing state polling this morning with great news for President Obama, he has solid leads in each of the swing states polled. Unfortunately a quick glance at the party ID breakdown (in the demographics links at the VERY bottom) shows that the survey sample is nowhere near reflective of this year’s likely  turnout at the polls.  In each survey, the party ID either mirrors 2008 (a huge Democrat wave election) or is more generous to Obama (Pennsylvania).  Most observers expect this year’s election results to be closer to 2004 when the country was more closely divided. I break down each state’s party ID below.

Despite the generous sampling for Obama he still is unable to crack 50% in any poll.  This is disproportionately worse for the incumbent because he is already known by the electorate, and yet a majority in each state are still willing to give his opponent a chance.  Now it is up to Mitt Romney to make the sale:

Voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania support President Barack Obama’s new immigration policy and are divided on whether the president or Gov. Mitt Romney would be better for their personal economic future, as they give Obama leads in these three critical swing states, a razor thin 4 points in Florida, a healthy 9 points in Ohio and 6 points in Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.

Matching Obama against Romney in each of these key states – no one has won the White House since 1960 without taking at least two of them – shows:

  • Florida: Obama edges Romney 45 – 41 percent;
  • Ohio: Obama over Romney 47 – 38 percent;
  • Pennsylvania: Obama tops Romney 45 – 39 percent.

Florida party ID is very curious. The Dem/Rep split mirrors 2008 which was a Democrat wave year that won’t be repeated and Independents are unusually high in the survey.

  • Q poll Party ID: Democrat: 31, Republican: 28, Independent: 35 or D +3
  • In 2004 its was R +4 with Independents only 23% of the vote
  • In 2008 it was D +3 with Independents only 29% of the vote.

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Obama’s Big Fundraising Lie

The Obama campaign has been unusually vocal about the alleged certainty that Mitt Romney will be the first Presidential challenger to out-raise the incumbent (which isn’t true).  Something never felt right about these claims considering Obama raised $750 million dollars in 2008 and he had far more lead time (with no challenger) this cycle. Tim Carney in the Washington Examiner breaks down the truth behind Democrats fundraising advantage over Republicans in recent Presidential campaigns:

First of all, Obama’s campaign has raised much more money than Romney’s [see near right], it has spent more money than Romney’s, and it has more cash on hand than Romney’s, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

But you can’t just count the campaigns. After all, when Obama hosts his $30,000-a-head fundraisers, he’s raising money for his campaign and the DNC — and the DNC is spending that money basically to re-elect Obama. On the national committees, Obama is beating Romney, too[see far right].

So, although Obama claims “I’m talking about the Romney campaign itself. Those outside groups just add even more to the underlying problem. The Romney campaign raises more than we do,” that seems to rely on an interesting definition of the word “raises.” They mean, in a minority of months, Romney raises more than Obama. At most, Obama can claim he’ll be outspent by counting outside money. This may or may not end up being true. But if that’s his method of counting, then he’s also clearly not telling the truth in this email, because he claims “I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign….” But if you count outside money, Bush was outspent in 2004.

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All Aboard! The “We’re Not With Obama” Bandwagon is Filling Up

First Claire McCaskill made clear she wanted on the bus. Now Georgia House of Representatives member John Barrow raced to the front of the line to buy his ticket:

Augusta U.S. Rep. John Barrow will skip the Democratic National Convention in September, adding to a growing list of Democrats distancing themselves from the national party’s major quadrennial get-together. Barrow spokesman Richard Carbo said Tuesday that Barrow is not going to Charlotte because he is “planning a number of events throughout [the] district during that time.” Barrow is in his fourth term and faces a difficult re-election test in a district newly redrawn to lean Republican. He moved from Savannah to Augusta this year to remain in the reshaped 12th District.

The excuses ring hollow as many are “too busy” or have “conflicting schedules” which doesn’t fool anyone. By September elected officials won’t be able to make the convention because they were “washing their hair” or “out of the country.”

Either way, seats are filling fast, so get your tickets soon!

The “We’re Not With Obama” Bandwagon

  • Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, West Virginia
  • Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia
  • Rep. Nick Rahall, West Virginia
  • Rep. Mark Critz, Pennsylvania
  • Rep. Bill Owens, New York
  • Rep. Kathy Hochul, New York
  • Rep. Jim Matheson, Utah
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri
  • Sen. John Tester, Montana
  • Rep. John Barrow, Georgia

Romney +5 in Virginia — We Ask America

I have shied away from We Ask America polls due to concerns over potential conflicts within the organization (much like my aversion to PPP polls).  However, recent polls from WAA matched credible peer results like we saw in Michigan. Then today’s Virginia poll was released with Romney leading 48 – 43.3 which contrasts the Real Clear Politics average that was approximately Obama +2 (prior to the WAA poll) so I was skeptical.  But after reading this explanation defending WAA’s accuracy (as well as its misses which every pollster has), I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt until they prove undeserving:

For President Percent
Barack Obama 43.3
Mitt Romney 48.0
Undecided 8.7

Poll type: Automated Date: 6/25/2012 – Participants: 1,106 Likely Voters – Margin of Error: ± 2.95%

What Obama Must Do to Win

Charlie Cook points out that with the economy as the overriding factor and little chance of it improving President Obama is left with few choices barely over four months remaining until the election:

We are past the point where Obama can win a referendum election, regardless of whether it is on him or the economy. The success of his campaign is contingent upon two things.

First, when focusing on the narrow sliver of undecided voters, between 6 and 8 percent of the electorate, the Obama team must make its candidate the lesser of two evils. It has to make the prospect of a Mitt Romney presidency so unpalatable that about half of those undecided voters will begrudgingly vote for reelection. Polling focusing on the undecided voters reveals they are a deeply pessimistic and angry segment of the electorate and don’t particularly like either candidate (fitting, because they don’t tend to like politicians). But they show signs of being more conservative than not. One unpublished analysis gives Republicans a 10-point advantage on the generic congressional ballot test among those undecided about the presidential race. Close analysis of the numbers shows that Obama might have an edge with between a third and a quarter of the currently undecided bloc. That’s cutting things awfully close.

The second key is turnout. African-Americans look solid for Obama and very likely to vote in high numbers, but young and Latino voters’ turnout appears problematic. Obama’s recent announcement of a newly articulated Dream Act-light policy could help, but it is too soon to see any data showing measurable change. It is what many Latino voters wanted to see, though Obama did it less than five months before the election when it could have been done three years ago. After deportations had reached levels higher than those under George W. Bush, it could take a lot to drive up Latino turnout.

Senator Claire McCaskill Jumping Aboard the “We’re Not With Obama” Bandwagon

In a story about the Missouri Governor deciding to attend the Democratic National Convention, Claire McCaskill gets a mention with a “we have to check our schedule” non-commitment:

Plans are less clear though for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who continues to be hammered by Republicans and allied groups because she was one of Obama’s early supporters. A campaign aide said the senator’s schedule for September was still in flux. McCaskill expects to be in a tough re-election battle.  McCaskill had missed the state Democratic convention several weeks ago because her mother has been ill. She did make the party’s biggest fundraising event of the year, the Jefferson-Jackson dinner, last Friday. McCaskill also skipped the 2004 Democratic presidential convention in Boston because she was engaged in a spirited contest for governor. McCaskill was in a difficult political position that year because she was challenging a fellow Democrat already holding the office, then-Gov. Bob Holden. The national convention that year was held in late July, just weeks before Missouri’s 2004 presidential primary, in which McCaskill defeated Holden. She lost that November to the Republican nominee, Matt Blunt.

We’ll hold a seat for you Claire, but you better hurry, spots are going fast!

UPDATE: McCaskill has officially booked her ticket.

The “We’re Not With Obama” Bandwagon

  • Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, West Virginia
  • Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia
  • Rep. Nick Rahall, West Virginia
  • Rep. Mark Critz, Pennsylvania
  • Rep. Bill Owens, New York
  • Rep. Kathy Hochul, New York
  • Rep. Jim Matheson, Utah
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri
  • Sen. John Tester, Montana

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is V — Bye Bye North Carolina

MSNBC’s First Read reported on the weekly ad buys and there were plenty of surprises this week. We have watched North Carolina closely since the beginning because we argued it is not a Battleground state and we expected the Obama campaign to pull up stakes sooner rather than later in this campaign. After saturating the state two weeks ago, no North Carolina market even made the top 10 this week (Charlotte was 11th). Combine that with the news that funds for the nominating convention are low and the Obama campaign are scaling back major events around the convention and the reality of North Carolina’s fate becomes all the more clear. Interestingly, the Obama campaign is undaunted by its negative burn rate in May as we see the campaign unload with both barrels across the top 10 markets this week. The official campaign spend actually dwarfed all other expenditures combined, even if we include pro-Obama superpacs with the pro-Romney spends (14600 vs 11590). That’s an impressive “all in” move by Obama he hopes will capitalize on momentum from his immigration maneuver poll bump. If he doesn’t meaningfully move the polls with these outsized ad buys, though, Romney could very well cruise to the White House in the Fall. A quick guide: ROF is Restore Our Future (Romney Super PAC); AFP is Americans for Prosperity (pro-Romney group); CWA is Concerned Women for America (pro-Romney group); and Priorities is Priorities USA Action (pro-Obama Super PAC).

Below are this week’s 10 hottest TV markets in the presidential contest (in terms of advertising points from June 25-July 1).

Hottest Markets for the week 6/25-7/1 Hottest Markets for the week 6/18-6/24
1. Colorado Springs, CO (Obama 1400, Romney 740 ROF 430, AFP 365, Priorities 150)
2. Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA (Obama 1400, Romney 550, ROF 515, CWA 450)
3. Cincinnati, OH (Obama 1500, Romney 630, AFP 300, ROF 300)
4. Richmond-Petersburg, VA (Obama 1500, Romney 500, ROF 275, CWA 240, Priorities 200)
5. Denver, CO (Obama 1500, Romney 500, ROF 300, AFP 200, Priorities 140)
6. Norfolk, VA (Obama 1500, Romney 500, ROF 250, CWA 220, Priorities 100)
7. Ft. Myers, FL (Obama 1300, ROF 615, AFP 500)
8. Cleveland, OH (Obama 1500, Romney 425, ROF 300, AFP 200, Priorities 115)
9. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL (Obama 1500, ROF 375, AFP 330, Priorities 175)
10. Reno, NV (Obama 1500, Romney 370, ROF 230, AFP 200)
1. Richmond-Petersburg, VA: (Obama 1,074, Romney 981, Priorities 337, Restore 265, Crossroads 45)
2. Norfolk-Portsmouth, VA: (Obama 1,090, Romney 889, Priorities 280, Restore 240, Crossroads 51)
3. Colorado Springs, CO: (Romney 1,062, Obama 755, Restore 355, Priorities 226, Crossroads 40)
4. Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA: (Obama 1,057, Romney 830, Restore 416, Crossroads 69)
5. Cincinnati, OH: (Obama 998, Romney 877, Restore 347, Crossroads 56)
6. Cleveland, OH: (Obama 951, Romney 625, Restore 229, Priorities 213, Crossroads 46)
7. Denver, CO: (Obama 885, Romney 825, Restore 225, Priorities 123)
8. Columbus, OH: (Obama 723, Romney 610, Priorities 341, Restore 199, Crossroads 69)
9. Charlotte, NC: (Romney 749, Obama 746, Restore 324, Crossroads 45)
10. Des Moines, IA: (Obama 740, Romney 623, Restore 207, Planned Parenthood 159, Crossroads 36)

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An Early Fall in New Hampshire

Michael McCord takes a snapshot of a small but important state in this election, New Hampshire:

Early Friday morning outside the Portsmouth campaign office of President Barack Obama, dozens of people lined up to get tickets to hear him speak in Durham [yesterday]. On June 15, hundreds of supporters of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney made the trek to Scamman Farm in Stratham for a campaign rally to kick off Romney’s six-state “Every Town Counts” campaign bus tour. And on the television airwaves, it seems more like October than the beginning of summer as both the campaigns have had strong and unprecedented advertising presences in this hotly contested state so far ahead of Election Day.

Ground game

The Obama and Romney campaign stops underscore both the up-front and below-the-radar efforts to secure the state’s potentially pivotal four electoral votes in November. Without much fanfare, the Romney campaign has opened offices in Bedford and Nashua. The Obama campaign has been organizing in New Hampshire for months with 10 field offices in operation — including in Dover, Exeter and Portsmouth — and more to open in the coming weeks.

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The Rust Belt May Save Obama Despite Himself

The Obama Administration touts an “All of the above” energy policy that doesn’t resonate well in the Rust Belt states in America. From spiking the Keystone Pipeline to his “war on coal”, Obama has often been frustrated in his attempts to defend these policies. However, Joel Kotkin in The Daily Beast takes a look at how Obama is playing in this part of America and thinks despite these policies he may still pull off a victory:

The industrial zone’s four key states—Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania—constitute the most critically contested territory in this year’s contest. Fifty-four electoral votes are at play here, with Pennsylvania’s 20 votes alone equaling all those at stake in the much-ballyhooed battleground of the Intermountain West (Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico).  The Midwest is also home to the two states with the biggest drops in unemployment over the past two years. Michigan leads the way with an almost five percentage point drop, while Ohio comes in second with a nearly three–point decline. in a row.

The return of manufacturing jobs

In the last two years the nation has added more than 400,000 manufacturing jobs, led by states in the upper Midwest. Between 2010 and 2011, Michigan led the nation by creating 25,000 new industrial jobs with a heady 5 percent growth rate second only to Oklahoma. Wisconsin came in second with 15,000 new positions, and a growth rate of more than 3 percent. These gains may not come to close to making up the losses suffered over the past decade, but the growth is encouraging. Manufacturing employment brings higher wages to regional economies. In the Cincinnati area, the average factory job pays $61,000 a year—$15,000 more than the city’s average wage. This creates an outsized impact on the rest of the economy, from housing and retail to demand for business services. There are already significant shortages of skilled workers such as welders and machinists.

Jobs for college grads

Midwestern employers are projecting an 18.5% jump—the largest of any region—in the number of college graduates that will be hired this year. The new industrial economy creates considerable demand for those who can fill STEM (science, technology, education, and mathematics related jobs). Between 2009 and 2011, Michigan enjoyed the second strongest rate of STEM growth in the nation, just behind Washington, D.C.

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